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Kamal Haasan & Rajinikanth have more impact on Delhi media than TN politics: Kanimozhi

DMK MP Kanimozhi says the party stands by its choice of Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate, calls arch-rival AIADMK the BJP’s ‘B team’.

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New Delhi: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) stands by its endorsement of Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidate but, at the same time, it is not opposed to any other name coming up, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi told ThePrint in an exclusive interview Thursday.

“That is the DMK’s choice. We are not saying that everybody has to accept it or go along with what we say. We would like to put (Gandhi’s name) forward as the best name we see. But that does not mean that we are opposed to anybody or any other names coming up,” Kanimozhi said at her official residence in the capital.

Last December, DMK president M.K. Stalin had said all parties would endorse Gandhi as PM candidate.

On Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth

Kanimozhi also said that the launch of Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan’s party last year and Rajinikanth’s potential entry into politics seems to have “more impact on journalists in Delhi than in Tamil Nadu politics”.

“I cannot predict what the polls will say. Rajinikanth has not announced the launch of his party till now, and we are just a month or two away from the Parliament elections. I really don’t know what his plans are. And on Kamal Haasan, let’s see,” she said.

However, Kanimozhi did not rule out the possibility of the DMK forging an alliance with Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam.

“I cannot really say anything about it. It depends on what the situation then is and what leaders of the party want,” she said.

On seat-sharing with Congress

The DMK has made its decision to ally with the Congress very clear and there is no ambiguity, but the parties are yet to take a decision on seat-sharing.

“I don’t think any decision has been taken. Formal talks have not started. I think that is for the leadership of the parties to decide. It is a little too early,” Kanimozhi said.

Also read: Congress rules out joining hands with any party without ‘long-term ally’ DMK

‘AIADMK now BJP’s B team’

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led by J. Jayalalithaa won 37 of the state’s 39 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP and its ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) won one each.

However, Kanimozhi said after Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016, the DMK’s arch-rival lost its identity.

“Post-Jayalalithaa, I think the AIADMK has become more of a BJP B team. It’s not a party with its own identity any more. I really can’t say anything more about the AIADMK at present,” she said.

The DMK also does not think much about the BJP’s attempt to make inroads into the state. “They can try what they want. I don’t think they are going to win even one single seat in Tamil Nadu,” Kanimozhi said.

Want to contest Lok Sabha elections

Asked if her recent public appearance on the national scene, such as attending alliance meetings with other opposition parties, is a prelude to her contesting the Lok Sabha elections, Kanimozhi said: “I hope to contest the polls, but it is the party’s decision. Yes, I would like to.”

However, on being asked whether former union telecom minister A. Raja, who was acquitted of all charges in the 2G spectrum allocation case, will contest the Lok Sabha polls, Kanimozhi merely said it was for the party leadership to decide.

On Priyanka’s entry into politics

The Rajya Sabha MP also called Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s formal entry into politics a good move.

“I think it is very good that more women come into politics. I think she has worked already in Uttar Pradesh. She has been working there for a long time. I am sure she knows her ground,” Kanimozhi said.

Also read: Priyanka Gandhi’s formal entry is a part of Rahul’s aggressive strategy for PM bid

On the interim budget

Speaking about the interim budget, in which the BJP-led government announced some pro-farmer measures, Kanimozhi asked why these sops had been provided only now.

“If they were so concerned about the farmers, why did not they do it earlier? Why wait this long? Why only now, when we are months away from elections?” she asked.

“There was a huge rally in Delhi. Tamil Nadu farmers came here and they did everything under the sun to seek the attention of the PM, to get an appointment with him. But they did not get even a minute. Nobody even bothered about them. Every leader from Tamil Nadu came and expressed solidarity. What was the government doing then?”

“What has the government done about unemployment?” she continued. “The budget is like the BJP’s election manifesto — there is no intention to carry out anything they’ve promised.”

CBI-Kolkata police incident has brought opposition closer

Kanimozhi said the tussle between CBI officials and the Kolkata police over the central agency’s attempt to question city police chief Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha Ponzi scam, and the subsequent stand taken by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, has sent a strong message that states don’t have to quietly accept the Centre showing its muscle power.

“I think it also brought all the opposition parties strongly together. People also realise how political vendetta can play out. I think it has made them realise that staying together is important,” she said.

All for a ‘secular’ cause

Kanimozhi insisted that the anti-BJP parties will not be divided on the issue of who will be the PM candidate, since they were all focussed on the bigger picture.

“Everybody is prepared to put aside other issues. It’s not a presidential election where you need a candidate to be announced before the polls. I think the larger vision is to have a secular government” — a government which preserves “institutions, the fabric of democracy and the Constitution,” she said.

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  1. If true, they would be in distinguished company. There is an entire species of political orchids that blooms only in TV studios, would wilt in the heat and dust of an Indian election.

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